The religious and political winds are changing. Tens of millions of religious Americans are reclaiming faith from those who would abuse it for narrow, partisan, and ideological purposes. And more and more secular Americans are discovering common ground with believers on the great issues of social justice, peace, and the environment. In Souled Out, award-winning journalist and commentator E. J. Dionne explains why the era of the Religious Right--and the crude exploitation of faith for political advantage--is over. Based on years of research and writing, Souled Out shows that the end of the Religious Right doesn't signal the decline of evangelical Christianity but rather its disentanglement from a political machine that sold it out to a narrow electoral agenda of such causes as opposition to gay marriage and abortion. With insightful portraits of leading contemporary religious figures from Rick Warren and Richard Cizik to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Dionne shows that our great religions have always preached a broad message of hope for more just human arrangements and refused to be mere props for the powers that be.
Dionne also argues that the new atheist writers should be seen as a gift to believers, a demand that they live up to their proclaimed values and embrace scientific and philosophical inquiry in a spirit of "intellectual solidarity." Written in the tradition of Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, Souled Out will help change how we think and talk about religion and politics in the post-Bush era.
E. J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist for the "Washington Post", a regular political analyst on National Public Radio, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University. His books include the best-selling "Why Americans Hate Politics" (Simon & Schuster), which won the "Los Angeles Times" book prize and was nominated for the National Book Award.
Introduction: Is God's Work Our Work? Faith, Doubt, and Radical Amazement 1 Chapter 1: Is Religion Conservative or Progressive? (Or Both?) 25 Chapter 2: Why the Culture War Is the Wrong War: Religion, Values, and American Politics 45 Chapter 3: What Are the "Values" Issues? Economics, Social Justice, and the Struggle over Morality 71 Chapter 4: Selling Religion Short: When Ideology Is Not Enough 92 Chapter 5: John Paul, Benedict, and the Catholic Future 126 Chapter 6: What Happened to the Seamless Garment? The Agony of Liberal Catholicism 151 Chapter 7: Solidarity, Liberty, and Religion's True Calling 183 Notes 205 Acknowledgments 227 Index 235